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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Gay Marriage and the GL of Tennessee (and Georgia)

I have received disturbing news from Tennessee. It seems that a gay Brother recently married another man, as per the SCOTUS ruling on national gay marriage. Unfortunately, the Grand Lodge of Tennessee's code Sec. 4.2105 (27) specifically states that it is a Masonic offense to "To engage in lewd conduct. To promote or engage in homosexual activity. To cohabit immorally in a situation without the benefit of marriage", and the Grand Master is making moves to expel the Brother.

The Brother in question has issued a detailed response discussing the situation, and has sent copies to several lodges in his area, the Grand Master, and every grand lodge in the US plus the UGLE. He is not going to go quietly, and in light of the recent change in the legal determination of the Supreme Court, I can't say as I blame him. We have perhaps thousands of gay members around the world who have been active, upright Masons for centuries, and it's not the lodge's or Grand Lodge's business what goes on in his bedroom. As long as he's not proselytizing in open lodge, IT'S NONE OF OUR BUSINESS! 

Furthermore, official codes that outlaw homosexuality, like other races, are letting themselves in for a major lawsuit and grand lodges should remove such language as soon as possible.

To read the Brother's letter, see the .pdf at http://www.freemasonsfordummies.com/TennesseeGayMarriageCharges.pdf

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UPDATE

Last week in Georgia, the Grand Master, Douglas McDonald, issued an edict with the endeavor to change their adultery provision to additionally read, "Homosexual activity with anyone subjects the offender to discipline."

Click image to enlarge:


I'm afraid there will be more of this. Brethren should consider that they have all probably been sitting in lodge with homosexuals since the day they became an EA. I strongly encourage Masons to check their state's code and take steps to remove these provisions. I'm no gay activist, but we live in different times now, and the Supreme Court has spoken on the subject. Like it or not, such rules may subject us to lawsuits, and I humbly beseech Grand Masters not to act rashly because homosexuality conflicts with their own personal views of morality. We have had thousands of gay members since our beginnings, almost entirely without incident or without bringing disgrace upon the Craft. What someone does in the privacy of their own bedrooms is none of our business, as long as they don't bring their politics into the lodge room.

84 comments:

  1. Sigh. At least WB Clark wrote a very well reasoned response. I guess we get to see what happens in TN now.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil, is that good men do nothing..." - Edmund Burke.
      “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.” - Charles Bukowski

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  2. I guess I shan't be visiting a Tennessee lodge any time soon.

    When I was interviewed prior to becoming a candidate, the committee took pains to tell me that they'd seen my website (on which I was frank about having a male partner) and that they were OK with it. After I was Raised, one of the Brethren asked if my civil partner were interested in joining. I said that he did not believe in a Supreme Being and thus wasn't eligible. We converted the civil partnership into marriage on 23 Dec 2014.

    A few years later, at the Festive Board, one of the Brethren told a joke during his toast. It was a vile homophobic joke, and while I did not wish to disturb the harmony of the Festive Board I emailed the WM and the Secretary the next day to mention it. Within a half-hour the Brother concerned had emailed me to apologise.

    I suspect that, Masonry not being a "public accommodation" but a "private society/club", it may be difficult to bring TN to law about it. But the Brethren of Tennessee ought to think about how they keep themselves in due bounds with their Brothers in Masonry. And I'm sure Tennessee is not the only US Grand Lodge with such a provision.

    Oh, I would like to say that gay men and lesbians do not in general proselytise in a public gathering. In fact, we don't proselytise at all (for the most part). I wonder if you could think again about using that phrase in your post. It comes dangerously close to saying "As long as he doesn't act like a pansy we're fine with it." When I am in Lodge I am concentrating on the work, just like everyone else who is there. Anything else would be improper.

    W.Bro Christian P. Hansen, PM and Secretary, Goliath Lodge #5595, UGLE
    Worshipful Commander, Tower Hamlets Lodge #892, Royal Ark Mariners

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    Replies
    1. Well said. I'm proud to call you my brother.

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  3. Chris, I used the term proselytize to refer to the sort of guy who wants to carry the political crusade into lodge.

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  4. Well, it was simply a matter of time before some GL leader chose to open this can of worms...

    WBro. Raymond Sean Walters

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  5. Some of our Southern U.S. Brethren seem determined to outdo each other in giving our gentle Craft a nice black eye and tarnished reputation.
    This is shameful, I feel embarrassed by this.

    Bro. Alfredo C.

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    Replies
    1. So do I. Not that I want to see any Grand Lodge, or any lodge, for that matter, act with discriminatio, It's against all MASONIC Judgement, but some will push their religious views into this anyway and cause a civil rights law suit that will cost them a lot of money and hurt their reputation as a non-discriminatory brotherhood into a very discriminatory "illegal" an non Masonic Christian group of haters.

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    2. I am a proud Mason working under the auspices of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee, & the Supreme Council, 33°, AASR, Southern Jurisdiction, but I am not proud of some of un-Masonic narrowminded views from a small group in positions of leadership in TN. We've got a problem with a not insignificant amount of non Masonic, Fundamentalist Christian cliques of haters & I can see this only getting worse if things are done " the way we've always done it" as I've so often heard when justifyiing inncorect, questionable, or outright unMasonic behaviors. By letting this group put their religious & moral peccadilloes above Masonic friendship, truth, & brotherly love, I fear that the petitioning & retaining of Masons, which has been on a downward trajectory, will become an outright nosedive if we let this aberration in Masonry continue unopposed.

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  6. Thanks for clarifying. As we are not allowed to discuss politics or religion in the Lodge, it seems that proselytising of any sort, political or religious, is not on.

    I expect there will be a lot of fireworks on this subject. I guess it's Prince Hall all over again, rinse and repeat.

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  7. The behaviour of the Grand Lodge of Tennessee is so un-masonic and has nothing to do with the vision of tolerance in Freemasonry. The responsible person at the Grand Lodge needs to be removed as he is the one damaging the reputation of our order.
    Br:. Peter Jacops

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  8. Georgia has now added an edict that bans it here. The Grand Master of GA, Douglas McDonald was the first to bring this up at the Conference of Grand Master's and I'm sure the GM of TN was in attendance.

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    Replies
    1. That's the most in-Masonic behavior I have seen in my entire 37 years of Masonic life. Those Grand Masters should be barred from all Masonic organizations for violating good Masonic Order. Making up their own rules is illegal and they, not gays, are citing evil and illegal acts of discrimination.

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  9. Over the years I have met many gay masons, all of who have behaved impeccably in lodge and outside of lodge and have proved to be excellent masons...what they do at home is of no concern to anyone.
    Roy Vaughan
    PM St Edmunds Lodge # 7377 province of Durham UGLE

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  10. How many Brethren have been brought up on charges for cohabitating without the benefit of marriage? Selective enforcement.

    Lance Rommerdahl, PM

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  11. Another example of how Masonry is behind the times..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No, Masonry is not behind the times. Those prejudiced, religious fanatical Grand Masters are not only behind the times, but are using Free Masonry for their own twisted religious agenda.

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  12. While considering ourselves on being a bit more progressive than the Deep South (sorry southern Brothers, but you know it's true) our Lodge, (Founded in 1852) recently had it's Senior Warden write an article about acceptance of Homosexuality, and Marijuana use (it's legal here) by brothers. Our Grand Lodge (however they personally feel) agreed to publish it in our statewide publication, the Masonic Tribune.

    Here is a link to the article.

    http://olympia1.org/2015/08/12/cultural-adaptation/

    Jacob Stewart, PM
    Olympia Lodge #1, F&AM

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  13. We have a one brother in our lodge, which I know of, and hie is one of the best and nicest brothers you will meet. I have no problems with any decent and moral man wanting to become a mason, and I think that's the way it should be, but sadly it is not.

    What I cannot agree to is the fact that people are using the Supreme Court as the law of the land. The Supreme Court cannot make law, it's actually illegal. There is no amendment that states anything about marriage, which means that any law on marriage falls to the states.

    With that said, I have no problems with same sex marriages, and I have always said that it should be called marriage, because that's what it is. People should be happy, and be together, and live life with zeal.

    About 15 years ago I got into a heated debate with my brother's inlaws, who said to me that Gays should not be allowed to have and raise children, because that would make the children gay. I replied back with, If straight people can raise gay children, then why can't gay people raise straight children? There was no coming back after that. They knew there was nothing they could say.

    So yes, gay men in Freemasonry is not an issue. Antiquated ideals are the issue. But lets keep the unlawful acts of the Supreme Court out of it. No one has to abide by an unlawful order.

    Nick

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    1. I beg to differ with you. The Supreme Court ruled on a civil matter, not making laws. They ruled that gays have the same civil rights as everyone else, and can not be discriminated against because of their sexual references. The opponents are using their religious beliefs to deny them of their civil rights. Let's stop passing our own moral codes to deny others of theirs, if it doesn't deny your rights. Otherwise, they can legally sue you for discriminating against their civil rights, and they will certainly succeed, as well they should.

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    2. SCOTUS does not make law. They uphold the laws by ruling on their interpretations. "All men are created equal" "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" is pretty straight forward to me.

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  14. When I petitioned my mother lodge, the lodge secretary asked me point blank, before he would hand me an application, "Would you have any problems calling a gay man your brother?"

    When I said that I would have no problem, he said, "Good! Because they're already in the lodge, and you're not yet."

    Only then did he give me the application to fill out.

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  15. As one who works with young people who look to our fraternity for an example and beacon of light in the darkness of a severely divided society, I can assert that this latest example of Masonic intolerance will just be another embarrassing and inexplicable example of what our Masonic youth group members kindly refer to as "Masons behaving badly." I can't presume to speak for all young people, but the thousands of young men (and young women) with whom I work, and whom we hope will preserve and support our fraternal values, wholeheartedly REJECT irrational homophobic behavior. The gay lifestyle is not a threat to them, and they are not bothered by it. They have been brought up to be tolerant of all religions, lifestyles, preferences and orientations that do no harm to another person. If Masonic leaders truly want to preserve the Craft for future generations, they'd better get in step with attitudes, beliefs, mores and passions of young people under the age of 30, or they may live long enough to put the last nail in our fraternal coffin. I pray that they will be enlightened, before it is too late.

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  16. The whole thing is rediculous. Masonry is about free men who come together to make their communities better and create strong bonds in the process. Gay , straight or likes all of the above makes no difference.

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  17. I'm not taking a side on this but I suppose the other side might ask what the Great Light sitting on the altar has to say about this? True, we can point to plenty of other teachings in the Bible to which we turn a blind eye, but this issue has just recently emerged due to the ruling of the SCOTUS ruling. Then, we could also find ourselves in a discussion of whose law are we obliged to follow given that more conservative Bible based thinkers might urge dissent from the SCOTUS opinion. I am aware of clergy in Catholic, Protestant denominations and "non denominations" openly condemning the decision and urging their congregations to follow biblical teachings.

    Interesting times we are living in.

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  18. We mostly refer to the Volume of the Sacred Law which as you know does not need to be the bible.

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  19. You know, while we understand that every jurisdiction has their own rules, and while we might even say to ourselves "Oh, those guys in GA or TN, I'm not surprised," we need to understand that the public doesn't look at this the same way. What they will say is "Oh, those Masons are so backward; they don't allow gay men to join." It reflects badly on all of us, not just those states where this is happening. You know, similar to those states where they don't recognize their PHA counterparts.

    Freemasons don't have to be agents for social change. We don't have to be at the forefront of some movement. It's okay to be conservative in some aspects. But man, it sure would be nice if we weren't perceived to be dragged along, kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

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  20. I also know of churches that are very open to marriage equality and who teach acceptance of their gay members. - The condemnation of gay Masons comes from particular religious denominations, but not all. Plus it all depends on which great light you put on the alter and who's interpreting it to determine what it says...my religious upbring includes condemnation of all Catholics so it's good to be careful to understand what one considers "biblical teachings."

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  21. "...it sure would be nice if we weren't perceived to be dragged along, kicking and screaming into the 21st century."

    Or, perhaps, into the 20th.

    W.Bro Chris Hansen

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  22. Or, perhaps, into the 20th.


    LOL - I actually wrote this originally, but changed it because it looked too pessimistic. But I was also thinking of how long it took many GLs to adapt to modern ways, like using email, SMS alerts, PDF trestleboards, and websites that were built after GeoCities.

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  23. Of course, I'm not going to recount that old joke "How many Freemasons does it take to change a lightbulb? None. We'd rather meet in the dark than change the lightbulb that's served the Lodge for so many decades." Oops.

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  24. At first hearing of this news I was saddened, but when I read of the edict, I was offended. I can tolerate the occasional disagreement on issues (we all have our own paths, c'set la vie), but I feel like this is overstepping boundaries. Some interpretations of some texts, which I am not saying anyone isn't entitled to, may forbid homosexuality, but we are a society built upon diversity of belief, and as long as one is an upright man and mason, respecting their obligations and following their moral compass, I have no problems with calling them my brother. To go beyond that and enforce by law your own religious Belief System and dogma is incongruent with the tenet of brotherly love, and is definitely an uncharitable stance to take (if I can try to be clever for a second). We are not a religion or a theocracy; if anything, we are simply seekers of truth and light.

    Regardless, this ultimately can only serve to rupture the mortar between stones and I, again, am saddened by the decision of the applicable jurisdictions, which has at least broken some kind of bond (not that I know any brothers out that way). I urge all that way who feel the same to make your voices heard, as it's up to us to rectify this situation, potentially at the expense of what we've worked so hard to build. Although, truth be told, this will probably be just another one of "those things," judging from history.

    Br. Chas Karnisky; 3rd degree
    ERAC #163, NYS

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  25. Brothers,
    The argument against these edicts should not be that the law of the land has changed, or that our culture has shifted. While true, both of these do not necessarily impact our fraternity. There are many laws that as a private organization have no bearing on us and how we operate, the same goes with societal change. The reason why these edicts, and the enforcement of them, are wrong is that they are antiquated, reactionary, unjustly applied and I feel un-masonic. I have no idea how long the rule from Tennessee has been in place, they both have the feel that they were included to try appease those outside the fraternity, rather than interpreting our Ancient Landmarks for the 21st century.

    As an aside, Bro. Hodapp, I must take you to task, and I hope in the most brotherly way. You ended your piece with the sentence "as long as they don't bring their politics into the lodge room." I certainly understand and appreciate the sentiment, I once had to stop a brother from collecting signatures at a lodge dinner. It is interesting to note that it was for a petition against same-sex marriage in my state, but I would have stopped any from taking place. However, I would be careful not to identify this as "their politics" I think that injustice in any form should be a concern for all masons gay or straight. Certainly the personal is political, but we need remember that not all that long ago any talk of recognition of Prince Hall Masons might have been met with similar language.


    Yours,
    Wor. & Rev. Hank Peirce
    Amicable Lodge, Cambridge,MA

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  26. It never ceases to amaze me, how much energy some put into imaginary actions.

    The people who write such edicts fancy themselves as preventing what? A lewd act? What is that, if not performed in public? Naught, and not, that's what.

    But to these people, it feels as though it has, because they cannot help imagining the ongoings. It is, in a very real sense, their own inability to subdue their imagination that causes the perception of lewdness or immorality. Ask any one of them to enumerate the number of times that they have had to endure a lewd act between two men. Just ask them.

    I wonder if any GL has taken a look at the passions of the "hetero" brothers? My guess would be no. I wonder if they would evict an unmarried brother who entertains numerous women. According to that TN rule he's probably in the clear. And yet, how would that be less inappropriate than two males who have been monogamous for 5, 10, 25 years?

    All VSL's reserve judgment as the purview of the GAOTU. It is there to instruct us in how to live our lives. Not how others should live their lives.

    That this brother in TN was identified after the fact means that there was nothing in his behavior that precluded him from membership. It was not until someone indirectly discovered his personal life and made an issue of it, that there was a problem. Seems to me, the problem is the brother that did not keep another brother's secret, and has attempted to derail or otherwise supplant the laudable pursuit of knowledge and self improvement. Now who has broken a masonic law?

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  27. This is utterly shameful... my teacher of the proficiency work was gay, and everybody that learned from him has their craft down to a military precision. So much so, most of his students from Arizona Lodge #2 now are active Grand Lodge members as well as Chapter & Commandery, and Scottish Rite. This guy is harming the fraternity in ways he cannot possibly imagine. There is already wild rumors coming out of California of roughly 50 gay Brothers whom have all demitted in disgust. No offense, but you Brothers in TN need to take action and stop this maniac.


    Jay K. Lindsey
    Paradise Valley Silver Trowel Lodge No. 29 F&AM
    Phoenix, AZ

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  28. All this talk of lawsuits leaves me a bit haggard. Regardless of one's personal opinion, Freemasonry is a private organization and therefore protected by the First Amendment concept of freedom of association. A similar case could be found in "Boy Scouts of America v. Dale", the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the BSA's Constitutional right to freedom of association gave the organization the authority to establish its own membership and leadership standards and to expel a gay assistant Scoutmaster. Yes, the BSA did eventually change their rules. But that was their choice. They ultimately won each case brought.
    I'm sure some will say -"Well that's before the ruling on Gay marriage". That ruling has NOTHING to do with protected freedom of association. Women have full rights, yet no one is stating that because Masonry dos not accept women that there will be lawsuit. Atheists have full rights, but no one is shouting -"Lawsuit!" for not accepting one who does not believe in a Supreme Being.

    Everyone can state their opinion on the "Right" or "Wrong" of Penal Code that Tennessee has let's just keep the discussion factually based and not scream LAWSUIT.


    Dusty Parsons,
    Tennessee Mason

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  29. Recognition between Grand Lodges is similar to reciprocity between private clubs. More than twenty years ago club in Northern cities indicated to reciprocal clubs in the South that continued reciprocity depended on accepting people of color. Northern Grand Lodges have to make clear that continued recognition of the Southern grand lodges depends on issues of color or gender being resolved NOW.

    This bigotry undermines fine pronouncements about our contributions to society. Either we support diversity as an important American value or we don't. The Southern Grand Lodges are irregular in a very serious way. There is nothing wrong with being red-haired or blue-eyed or colored or gay. Those who think otherwise are sick, and the grand masters of Georgia and Tennessee are sick. It is a sickness which threatens the country if we tolerate it.

    Paul Rich
    St.John's Lodge, Boston
    pauljrich@gmail.com

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  30. Candidates are not informed that rather than joining a universal fraternity, they are going to discover that their color or gender are unwelcome in some major states. Imagine if you bought a computer and then learned it didn't work in Georgia or Florida or... You might feel duped.

    A candidate might wonder what harm he was causing himself by joining an organization that had affiliates so opposed to moral values. Would it surface as an issue as he progressed in his career. Lawyers hoping to be judges, beware.

    A solution would be for a grand lodge or grand lodges to welcome and organize real lodges in the offending states, lodges practicing Masonry rather than bigotry. A very senior Mason writes:

    DC would be a logical choice. California is "liberal" compared to other grand lodges, and the race issue would be an easy one for us. We have also taken a strong stand in favor of gay rights, and several grand masters have tackled discrimination against our gay members head on. We have also had grand lodge officers ... living with partners to whom they were not married. ... without incident or comment.

    (A) Senior Grand Deacon's partner had his picture taken with the wives/partners of the other grand lodge officers, and no one gave it a second thought. Four years ago...Worthy Grand Patron and his partner, Scott, traveled all over on Eastern Star business, and they were both wildly popular. So California should be in a good position to tackle the discrimination situation in Tennessee and Georgia. Would we do so? I don't know.

    The hardcore racist and anti gay grand lodges are irregular by any interpretation of what Masonic universalism involves. There irregularity far exceeds the spurious charges of irregularity they hurl at Prince Hall Masonry. Here we are as 2016 looms discussing whether we practice what the ritual teaches. You can join the armed forces and get married but you are immoral in the eyes of an illiterate grand bigot. Where are the leaders in our grand lodges? Their silence demeans their office

    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge. Boston
    pauljrich@gmail.com



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  31. Greetings all Brethren present,

    I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every Brother here for what is a very moving and touching show of support for this targeted Brother in Tennessee. The same thing happened a couple years ago to another Brother in Kentucky that completely ruined his life at the time, before that it happened to me in Texas. While I realize there will be Brothers out there whom do not agree with the way in which I have launched a public attack on GL of TN, just know that I believe that what I'm doing is the right thing, as do some of my former... well.. let's just say "peers" from here and there, from my former Masonic life in Texas.

    The reason why we believe it is right to for the first time ever, launch a public Brother-on-Brother attack is simple. These sort of stunts seem like they are never going to stop in the Southern states until an example is set. While I know Brethren take their charge to defend our craft against all odds, even when we know we are wrong, this is a broken policy that we believe has led to this exact predicament. Being apathetic to the abuse of power of a Masonic Office, or the abuse of a Brother caused by that corrupt rule is something that a Brother should be able to turn to his Brothers and expect help on - not fear of "Masonic Charges / Trials" or what the watercooler chat at Lodge might be as a result of it. If you saw this sort of thing happening to your own son, brother, cousin, nephew etc., would you really stand by and allow it, or take action to do something about it? This is Freemasonry in 2015.

    That's my two cents, for what it's worth.

    My best,

    James R. Wright KT
    Los Angeles, CA
    Northern Star #377 AFAM Texas,
    Former Special Assistant to the Secretary-General, Dallas Scottish Rite

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  32. The silence of the grand lodges not in agreement with these gender and racial bigotries is deafening. Our continuing failure to extend our cable tow to brethren humiliated by the Georgia and Tennessee grand masters, compromises all our oaths and obligations. These actions turn us into a hate organization on the margins of society. Our moral rehabilitation is only possible by an ultimatum to the offending grand lodges about their racial and gender policies, followed by withdrawal of recognition. This should be an issue at every meeting of every grand lodge. Every grand representative to other grand lodges of the offending grand lodges has a special responsibility in this.

    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge, Boston

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  33. "The silence of the grand lodges not in agreement with these gender and racial bigotries is deafening. Our continuing failure to extend our cable tow to brethren humiliated by the Georgia and Tennessee grand masters, compromises all our oaths and obligations. These actions turn us into a hate organization on the margins of society. Our moral rehabilitation is only possible by an ultimatum to the offending grand lodges about their racial and gender policies, followed by withdrawal of recognition. This should be an issue at every meeting of every grand lodge. Every grand representative to other grand lodges of the offending grand lodges has a special responsibility in this."


    Uh........what "gender....bigotry" are you referring to? Its an "all male" faternity, and was when you and I both joined. We knew the rules when we came in. Don't like it? There are plenty of Masonic mixed gender orders you can go to that are VERY respectable. Join them in their labors. I hear the oddfellows are looking for help too, I think they're co gender now. Maybe these "bigotries" of which you speak are exactly what each respective grand lodge *wants*.

    Freedom of association, bud.

    Each lodge/grand lodge should be able to determine who it wants to associate with. It doesn't make it right or wrong, but it is an example of FREEDOM. Just because we don't like it, doesn't mean we should be able to foist our opinions on others. We did in fact go through a related issue in Kentucky a few years ago, but few probably know *all* the facts concerning the case, the people involved, and what has happened since. Too many people wanting to butt in on other people's business IMO. No grand lodge is perfect, and whatever (real or imagined) faults need to be handled by said GL. It's hard to do that with people throwing stones at the building.

    Barry Eastham
    Sec'y, Greenup Lodge 89
    Greenup KY

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  34. The wellbeing of our country depends on seeing our diversity as a strength. Despite missteps, one of the basic values of freemasonry is bring together people of many different backgrounds. We should be doing that more rather than less, and inviting brothers to leave because they are different from us is a contradiction of what we are about. The grand lodges that are set against racial and gender inclusiveness are an embarrassment.

    On a practical note, as the Shrine demonstrates with its ban on the Confederate flag, bizarre behavior by some Southern grand lodges is a practical threat to the existence of the Craft because of consequences for tax privileges, relations with charities and universities, and sponsorships. It won't be tolerated. it has growing effect on our struggle to exist in the face of massive membership decline. Rather than invite brethren who believe in inclusiveness to leave for the Odd Fellows!!!, it is time to invite brethren who oppose the inclusive genius of our country and our fraternity to consider seriously their situation.

    Like the country, the Craft needs to give substance to its principles. By any reasonable criteria the grand lodges of Georgia and Tennessee have decided to redefine inclusiveness as excluding men on the basis of color and sexuality at the same time that the country is correcting those injustices. This of course excludes brethren in our own grand lodges, who now are made second class members outside of our jurisdictions. It is intolerable that we allow our brothers to be excluded from a substantial number of jurisdictions.

    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge. Boston

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  35. PART 1

    You didn't answer the question Br. Rich. What gender bigotry is being propagated? What does that have to do with the homosexual issue?
    You obviously have a bias against southern grand lodges. As a member of one, I'm only asking the question, and would honestly like to know what you mean.

    I'd like to hear why our gender bigotry which I can only guess is part of the "bizarre behavior" should be done away with?


    And I say again.....if you honestly feel that the "gender" issue is that big, then you should labor with one of the many co masonic rites in existence. They serve as genuine a purpose as our own does, IMO. Yes, we don't "recognize" them, but they have a long illustrious history of their own, and take what they do very seriously. More seriously than our own brothers in some cases. I have many stories on that subject as we all do. And yes, the oddfellows are *still* looking for good people. I still invite you to take a look.

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  36. PART 2


    I propose our declining membership isn't the issue. Its APATHY. It always has been. Perhaps we weren't meant to be as big as we were back in the "heyday". Even if our lodges are only 50% or even 25% of the size they were in 1945 or 1965, I would bet that if you had 100% membership participation at *every* lodge event, no one would complain about declining membership. You probably wouldn't have enough seats for everyone. Guard the west gate, make it a little harder. I heard brothers in this thread and the older one from 2010 and 2011 (and personal comments) when KY dealt with the subject of homosexuality in our GL make comments of which they had NO IDEA WHAT THEY WERE TALKING ABOUT. They would have thrown the doors open to someone *just* *because* they were homosexual without even taking into account his character! Gimme a break!

    Freemasonry should change YOU. It's not supposed to go the other way around. Many of these social issues will work themselves out in time (one way or another!), because we all grow, as does the fraternity in accordance with the growth of its members....and if we were ALL present ALL THE TIME, we'd have a better cross section and gauge of where we stand socially; but the "gender" thing I just don't understand why you are pressing that point? Again, this is an ALL MALE fraternity.....get it? No one says women can't be masons. They just can't be masons in "regular" grand lodges. Many female masons *want* it that way believe it or not. And you mention redefining inclusiveness to exclude people of another color??? Where was that mentioned? Are we reading the same article? Chris only mentioned that a GL that would have this language should change it. He didn't specifically say Georgia or Tennessee had it in their constitution. I admittedly haven't read their const. to know for sure, but I do know the article said nothing of the sort.

    To bring together MEN of every country, sect and opinion. We can all read that in alot of different ways, as this thread has shown, but the MEN part; well, that's pretty clear I think. Race, the issue of homosexuality, differing social mores;these are all coming to the fore recently in the south and elsewhere. Give it time. It'll happen, like I said one way or another.

    And as far as the race thing goes, perhaps you should consider something else you don't know for sure. MAYBE, just MAYBE there are people laboring furiously in their respective GL's behind the scenes to see that recognition DOES happen. And when people start screaming, rocking the boat, and waving their flag from a moral high horse because it hasn't happened quick enough to satisfy them, they could possible damage work already done up to that point. And yet another possibilty....perhaps some PHA GL's aren't interested? That scenario isn't impossible. Who knows?

    ya know, it wasn't until the mid 90's that MA recognized Prince Hall (according to Bessel). That's not really that long ago. What's 2 decades in the big scheme of things?

    Just sayin.

    Barry Eastham

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  37. PART 3

    Finally, to all who read these posts, if you disagree with me, Br. Rich, or anyone else who posts, you do your complaining and boat rocking and then you DON"T GET INVOLVED TO TRY TO MAKE CHANGES? shame on you. Its like discussing politics with someone who doesn't vote. Its just stupid.

    Finally brothers, remember, if you teach a man to build a fire, then you will keep him warm for a day....... but if you SET A MAN ON FIRE, he'll be warm the *rest of his life* : )




    Barry Eastham

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  38. The gender issue being discussed is the action of grand lodges against gay brethren, The racial issue is the continuing failure of some grand lodges to raise candidates of color. These are issues of decency and have nothing to do with geography. The actions of the grand lodges concerned are indefensible. The notion that racial segregation in Freemasonry needs more time to be resolved is moral bankruptcy.

    Paul Rich
    St, John's Lodge. Boston

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  39. Being labeled morally bankrupt proves my point that even this issue has intolerance associated with it, and some people just can't wait. viz a vis my comment about MA only being two decades ahead of some other GL's. I still stand by my comments, but do not appreciate being labelled that way.

    And for the record, gender and sexual orientation are two completely different things. I know many that would take issue with your comment, both hetero and homosexual. Choose your words better.

    I've already broken my personal rule by being drawn into this : ), so before I say something that would turn this into the dreaded "flame war", I bid you all a good day.

    Barry Eastham

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  40. It's discussions like this that cause me to think the whole business of "don't ask, don't tell" makes a lot of sense. Some might say that's an overly simplistic approach, but what two consenting adults do in their own privacy is their business. There's a reason we call it a lodge room and not the bed room. Too many people on both sides of this discussion just seem like they have an axe to grind. I presume none of us in this discussion is a member of either of these Grand Lodge's. What those GL's choose to do will be what they choose to do. They are private organizations and can do whatever they want despite praise or criticism from anyone. We as Masons just have to abide the rules of which ever jurisdiction we choose to hail from.

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  41. Brother Eastham, your own integrity is not being questioned, I very much assure you. The issue is the policies of some grand lodges, which concerns all of us. It concerns what we tell new masons in our rituals about being able to travel, it concerns the right of friends in our lodges to go to lodge with us if we are on a trip, it concerns what we tell candidates about our universality. It concerns our own integrity when we pledge allegiance in our lodges with the words "for all".

    I very much like Brother Stevens remark that the lodge room is not the bedroom. But unfortunately the positions of these grand lodges do concern all of us. They de facto prevent people of color and gays from joining our collateral bodies, so that the entire system becomes segregated without choice.

    Gender is the term used now for these discussions, be they about lesbianism, polygamy, or transvestitism or homosexuality. At my own alma mater they have embraced that term because there are now so many issues -- see http://www.hgsc.org/

    Brother Stevens is right that this is not a place we should let a few grand lodges take us to. When I was at Harvard, having a girl in your room was reason for expulsion. Our house (dormitory) was completely male. Now having a girl and boy as roommates is common. I encountered my first unisex bathrooms a couple years ago, and when a lady grabbed a stall ahead of me i reflected on the matter, but not on its morality. I accept that attitudes I had were wrong about many of these issues.

    The minorities in our country are now becoming the majority. Please let us not doom our lodges by trying to defend the indefensible. Your Masonic membership is not determined by your choice of partner or great-grandparents. The leadership has to tell these grand lodges that if they persist in this course, they have forfeited recognition. Individuals should be able to be quickly healed in the Masonic sense of the term by the tyler but honors to the bigots eliminated Honoring segregationists? Grand honors for gay bashing? It's simply wrong


    Paul Rich
    St. John's Lodge, Boston

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  42. Woah now Brother Barry... to be fair to the afflicted Brother in Kentucky with that whole mess, and to honor the truth as well, the "whole" truth of it is contained within the audio I broadcasted leaked from the Masonic trial over it. If you like, I can remove the bleeps from names, places, and send you the audio in its entirety for private review - before you continue glossing over the absolute deplorable and sickening mess that unraveled there.

    Freemasonry has been a centuries old honor for my entire family, the Templars before that; I resent the notion that the problem here is my or anyone else's "association". As does the spirit of this craft detest such a notion.

    James Wright KT
    Los Angeles

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  43. Woah now Brother Barry... to be fair to the afflicted Brother in Kentucky with that whole mess, and to honor the truth as well, the "whole" truth of it is contained within the audio I broadcasted leaked from the Masonic trial over it. If you like, I can remove the bleeps from names, places, and send you the audio in its entirety for private review - before you continue glossing over the absolute deplorable and sickening mess that unraveled there.



    You broadcasted audio from a masonic trial? is that even masonically legal?? You can do what you want, and I welcome you to, but as far as that case goes and the individuals involved, I STAND BY MY COMMENTS. Read my earlier comment that you should find out WHAT HAS HAPPENED SINCE. You guys DO NOT have the whole story, I can assure you. no one was "afflicted" here. His local lodge trial I have no idea about, and BELIEVE ME his masonic trial is but a small part of this story. I'm talking about the long term effects of what happened with the *individuals involved*. Its a matter of public record, feel free to contact me personally and I will "enlighten" you if you can't find what I'm referring to. Besides, that's not whats at issue here. But I can't and won't stand by and let partial truths be put out there. You really don't know the whole story, thats clear.

    Barry Eastham

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  44. For your perusal:


    http://freemasonsfordummies.blogspot.com/2012/03/controversial-kentucky-man-arrested-for.html

    Who was the "afllicted" here?

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  45. Brother Barry,

    In a forum where a specific topic is focusing on the discrimination and targeting of Brothers, you yourself are now promoting again the very same which already occured in Kentucky. I would submit that you don't know what you are talking about and perhaps to your surprise might hold more of a knowledge about something in your own state which you do not all the way from beautiful sunny Southern California. How could that be? That archive is located here http://dialmformason.weebly.com/podcasts/pod-3-dail-m-for-mason-the-leaked-masonic-audio-exclusive-to-james-wright-and-peoples-internet-radio
    This was essentially tried in the court of public opinion thanks to me and you would be the only Brother now speaking against this individual whom a smear campaign was run against by the most powerful men in his community in nothing more than a frat ritual run completely out of control... I digress, like I previously stated I can unbleep the names and you can figure this out all to late for your own better judgment.



    As far as your calling my breaking of Masonic Oath / Protocol back in Texas of airing that broadcast in California, you are correct on that. However, I would submit to this that while these Masonic officials are blatantly disregarding entire sections of Masonic law, several paragraphs of their own oaths as Masons, all in the name of high office, and also since the Fraternity is meant to be "on the level" than the playing field being leveled here dear Brother means that what is good for the goose is good as well for the gander and the gloves have been removed. I do this with more love and passion for the craft than you have even attempted to display in your backwards rant. This type of thought pattern is broke, call your Scottish Rite Supreme Council officials.. my best play at betting is they agree. Brother I don't think you quite understand the global playing field of this Fraternity and how sullied it is by these occurances...?

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  46. ..... This could not better illustrate and frame what is wrong, what is at the root of what we are discussing here.

    The Fraternity seems to have failed you Brother, much like it failed Grandmaster Hastings of TN and his homey in Georgia... of teaching you the lesson that there are bad leadership qualities in the male psyche, based on "your passions" aka ego, which lead you to believe these things you are spouting to be true. But the reality is as follows:

    Being an alpha male / leader / man amongst men - is all about being protective of the pack, knowing that you accomplish more by saying "here Brother, need some help, I'm here for you buddy", standing up for what is right, fighting against any attack of a comrade meant to do them unjust injury, the list goes on and on with what makes a man "masculine".

    Using your position to inflict harm, target someone with, is just simply "being a dick".

    James Wright

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  47. When you start to delve into the targeting of the Templars themselves and why, you will begin to see that many of them, my own ancestors (papers on request) were also in fact "gay married" http://www.theawl.com/2012/05/sex-and-punishment
    and this was outlawed curiously in 1306, setting the stage to attack them publicly with it as a political and banking power grab a year later on the famous Friday Oct. 13.

    You know not of what you speak.

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  48. Sad to see that this beautiful ancient fraternity that is left in our hands (for this moment in time), has been reduced to this kind of conversation, where supposed Brothers push their personal agendas . For this and many other reasons it's hard to not think we are doomed as an organization. We have not done a good enough job of guarding the West Gate.

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  49. Brother Mitch a wonderful thought but how does one ferret out a man who will use his influence and power to enforce his religious morality as a function of law? Particularly when I know it to be a moral fabrication? I've yet to encounter such a string of interrogatives.

    Secondly the Lodge room is not a bedroom. But I suggest you attempt to do the following for the next six months:if married remove your wedding band, remove your spouse and children from Facebook, make no mention of who you date or spend time with outside of the Lodge (this includes any time you see a Brother because any time you mention your sexuality to a Brother it is involving the Lodge), be sure to never mention the person you love.

    Anyone who believes that you can live your life without ever mentioning the person you love has no compassion for his Brother. Let alone an idea of what it is like to be forced out of the conversation when a Brother mentions going out with his wife in an anniversary dinner (something we should celebrate as love for our Brother) or a single man in a room full of married Brethren who insist they know a nice young lady for you by date. I assure you these hurt emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. After coming out to my Brothers, life has improved for all of us as I no longer have to mentally evade discussion of the truth.

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  50. The fact that this specific conversation is happening period is because of Bro. Hastings completely ignoring due process and issuing out whatever kind of executive order he pleases to suit his own style of personal grudges.

    This is a demand he leaves office or impeach him situation. You Brothers are aware you can impeach, right? I'd set the ball in motion myself except I am not a member of GLoTN, obviously. Is fear of yet more superfluous Masonic charges what is hindering this? You impeach this thing and all of his executive orders become null and void. A complete investigation should be conducted on the office of Grandmaster and his dealings, as his grand desk and grand smartphone and grand filing cabinet and grand computer hard drive are all Grand Lodge property and may be dissected by Brethren as such.

    James

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  52. Mr. Wright, I took the time to listen to your podcast, and quite frankly it is riddled with paranoia, conspiracy theory, and it seems that you have quite the chip on your shoulder, and are taking one audio tape and judging the entire Grand Jurisdiction of Kentucky on one event. Ironically, I must ask if it is possible that you are related to the Mr. Wright from Kentucky, as you both share the last name, and you have the recording.

    It is apparent that it is none of anyone's business, including yours, what and how we conduct our business in Kentucky, or blow out of proportion the events of one Masonic trial. You have no problem standing on your soapbox to crucify us, but seem to not take the time to realize that under my watch as Grand Master, the Craft of Kentucky voted in General Assembly to uphold the rights of Gay Masons to be a part of our Fraternity, and to not expel someone just for who they choose to be with.

    I installed Mr. Wright as Master, and he was a friend of mine until such time that he chose to cause complete upheaval in his own Lodge, and leave his wife destitute in the process. Additionally, he was convicted on a Class C Felony for stealing from his own Lodge. It is not a gay issue sir, but a sticky fingers issue in my mind.

    Again, I invite you to exercise your right of free speech, but make sure you have the facts before spouting off that smart mouth of yours. You made it personal, and I am only responding, so personally, you do not have a clue. I would be glad to sit down with you one on one for a spirited conversation at the time of your choosing.

    Fraternally,

    L. Todd Eastham, PGM
    Grand Lodge of Kentucky
    Committee on Jurisprudence

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  53. To all TRUE brothers on this thread, I owe you an apology. I have broken a cardinal teaching of the EA degree by entering into argument with one who through ignorance ridicules us.

    Young masons beware, take a lesson from my example, and don't do what you witnessed me do here! my apologies for allowing this to happen, especially in a public forum. Had I listed to this so called "Brother"'s podcast, I would never have commented. I invite you all to listen, particularly the last 25 minutes, where some of the interesting bits including the scottish rite funding research into MKultra, all masons being pedophiles who draw their victims from amongst demolay members, and a whole slew of nonsense, including the common extra marital affairs had by masons with their brothers in lodge. The trial is pretty dry, I recommend the last 28 or 30 minutes of the recording when he and his producer start talking. I truly feel vindicated, but can't stop laughing long enough to get my composure.


    http://dialmformason.weebly.com/podcasts/pod-3-dail-m-for-mason-the-leaked-masonic-audio-exclusive-to-james-wright-and-peoples-internet-radio



    Brothers of all GL's, again, very sorry. I wish you all well, and with that I'll let this rest now.

    Barry

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  55. Okay, brethren. This has gone more than far enough. I think it has been sufficiently flogged to death, and I am stopping it now.

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  58. So you can be a Gay solder fight to defend your nation get married to your same sex partner But you are not worthy to sit in a Lodge.

    D L Currell MM

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  59. A not insignificant man once said, "By their acts shall ye know them."

    E.C.Ballard

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  60. I 100% agree with the pending expulsion of the man or men! It is shameful that homosexuality is so accepted.

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  61. I agree with you matt. Close to my area, and not necessarily because it's a gay thing, but like it or not, it is a moral issue, read and comprehend your bible, which is the Great Light in Tennessee freemasonry.

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    1. Are you saying that only Christians are welcome in your GL?

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    2. No. I'm simply stating that the holy bible is the only great light on the state of Tennessee. Read it.

      Delete
    3. So you are saying that the Grand Lodge of Tennessee is lying on their webpage when it says that Masonry in that state, "transcends all religious, ethnic, cultural, social and educational differences," or that "Every applicant must express a belief in a Supreme Being to whom all men are accountable but no particular religious affiliation is required."

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    4. So you're saying that only men that believe in the Bible can be a mason in tennessee? Ok then which denomination does tennessee agree as being the right one? There's 40,000+, most of these being independent churches of course. Or is tennessee strictly Orthodox Catholic?

      The Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches has been welcoming of gay christians since 1968. So you're saying that their comprehension of your bible is incorrect? How about a mormon, are can they be masons because their bible isn't the same? Your arguement is invalid on so many levels

      So again, how do you correlate that Freemasonry is not a religion when you clearly base this one rule on religion?

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    5. Love your response Chris!

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  62. I agree with WP and everyone else. It's bigotry that is happening in Tennessee and Georgia.

    The Great Light is a representation. It can be replaced with any book. It's our beliefs and morals that inspires us to follow the GAOTU. I would welcome with open arms any man wanting to be better.

    What a person does in their private life with a consenting adult is of no concern of ours. It's how he treats that person, be it a woman, man or in by gone days a interracial man/women. It's love, and it's something we shouldn't chastise. If this was happening in my GL I would also most certainly hand in my dues card.

    There have been gay men throughout history, great men. Of course we want to whitewash it to suit our perception.

    Again we all know the lodge is not founded on religion. But also there is only one degree you can't do unless you believe in the Christian God. Hence the Great Light not being the Christian bible.

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  63. I agree with many of the comments here. As a Mason from Tennessee I am appalled at this un-Masonic decision. As Masons we are supposed to improve mankind and spread love, not hate. I think I can safely say this decision does not reflect the views of all of the brothers in Tennessee.

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  64. John 13:34 A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.

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